The Story

WE TEACH ARTISTS HOW TO

BUILD COMMUNITY AND MAKE A LIVING

Most artists generate less than a quarter of their income through their art. More than two million people have art degrees, yet only 8% make a living as artists — and that’s just in the United States. There is a void in the arts. We are working to fill it.

Sources: Paying Artists, BFAMFAPhD

WHAT WE DO

To thrive as an artist or arts organization, you need to reach an audience and generate sustainable income. We believe online tools and community funding are the future of arts sustainability and we are here to equip artists for this future. With a combined 30 years of experience in art-making, communications, web strategy, online fundraising, education, and media production for the arts, we will help you use online tools to grow your community and make a living doing what you love. Over the last four years, we've helped artists raise a total of 1.5 million dollars (and counting) towards their crowdfunding projects. We’ve distilled this knowledge into a series of fun and helpful online courses. To learn more about these courses, click here.

HOW WE DO IT

Education

We’re creating a series of affordable online courses to empower artists with the knowledge needed for financial sustainability. As we grow, we’re partnering with everyone from fellow artists to lawyers to technology leaders to assemble a complete curriculum for independent artists.

Research

Artists using the internet to make a living is a new phenomenon.  The tools and techniques that work for artists are evolving quickly and our research needs to evolve just as fast. As we create case studies, tool comparisons, and resource lists, we’ll be sharing these articles for free in our journal, as well as using them as the foundation for our courses, workshops, and webinars.

Community

We’re a learning community — here’s what that means: our courses are built to create evolving dialogue. The challenges facing artists can’t be solved in a vacuum; we need everyone to share what’s working and what’s not. On our forums, you can meet and talk with other artists, ask questions, and tell your stories. We’re also planning meet-ups, workshops, and other fun programming that expands our community beyond the screen.

WHO WE ARE

siena-1024x1024Siena Oristaglio is a queer Jewish-Italian artist, educator, and communications specialist. Her work before founding The Void Academy focused on initiatives at the intersection of art, education, and social justice. She has ten years of experience in communications and has led international campaigns with coverage in outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Huffington Post. Siena has been a presentation leader at the The Museum of Fine Arts, New York University, MoMA, MoMA PS1, and Necker Island, among others. As Director of Communications for Marina Abramovic Institute, she ran the non-profit’s successful 2013 Kickstarter campaign, raising over $660,000 in 30 days. Siena has represented arts organizations to established individuals and companies, including Tania Bruguera, Willem Dafoe, Tehching Hsieh, Nan Goldin, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Richard Branson, TED, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Squarespace, and Tumblr. 

Karina Vahimg_1019itova is a post-Soviet queer poet, a cautious art historian, writer, and dancer from Kiev, Ukraine. She has previously worked with Opportunity Project (helping to develop healing art therapy programs for individuals with brain damage), Studio Formichetti (assisting Lady Gaga’s creative director), and Bullett Magazine (working in distribution). In 2012, she curated and helped create “Postcards Post-Sandy,” a digital memory site recording the effects of Superstorm Sandy. Right before founding The Void Academy, she led and managed the global research and performance art archive project at Marina Abramovic Institute. She has worked with a broad network of international emerging and established collaborators within the arts and sciences. She graduated from Eugene Lang College where she studied critical theory, art history, and molecular biology. Besides working on The Void Academy Karina spends the rest of her time writing. Currently she is a writer in residence at Dr. Wendy D’Andrea’s Trauma & Affective Psychophysiology Lab working to write scientifically informed feminist advocacy around sexual assault and violence against women and children. She is also working on her first book of lyrical theory about female queerness, totalitarianism, violence and women in the Soviet Union. You can read her writing by signing up to her Tinyletter mailing list here.

noah-1Noah Blumenson-Cook is an artist, technologist, and media producer. His video work has been featured by V Magazine, Complex, Spin, MTV and the Logo network. He has more than 15 years of experience in the technology sector, working principally with universities, arts organizations, and technology companies. As technology consultant for MIT's Center for Civic Media at the Media Lab, he focused on project implementation and funding strategies for new ideas in civic journalism and online engagement. At Apple, Noah led the technology support team at the Grand Central retail location, the largest in New York. As Technology Director for Marina Abramovic Institute, he implemented online fundraising strategies including video content and social engagement.

Winter Mendelson is a genderqueer writer, editor, producer, and creative director. They are the Digital Media Strategist for The Void Academy as well as the Founder of Posture magazine, a digital and biannual print publication that explores identity through fashion and artistic practice. Winter graduated with a B.A. in Art History from The University of Georgia in 2012 and moved to New York City shortly after in the hopes of finding a queer community and beginning a career in the arts. After searching for an intersectional space in media dedicated to uplifting the work of marginalized communities — and not finding a lot of outlets (that weren’t geared primarily towards cis gay men) — they decided to launch Posture as their own attempt to fill this void and engage with like-minded creatives and activists. After years of working in high end art galleries in Manhattan and advancing Posture on nights and weekends, Winter decided to make the shift away from the art industry vortex to focus both on Posture and meaningful freelance projects in an attempt to take control of their own life — both financially and emotionally. Winter has been featured in major publications such as NY Mag’s The Cut, Vice’s Creator’s Project, Huffington Post, OUT, Bust, Curve, and more. When they are not lost in the wonderful world of digital and print media creation, Winter is reading nonfiction, watching films, looking for animals to cuddle with, and planning their next adventure.

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